Fundraising appeal launched to help family of 11 injured in crash in Turkey

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A fundraising campaign has been launched for a family from Blackpool who were involved in a serious bus crash in Turkey.

All 11 members of the family - adults, teenagers and younger children - were riding on a tourist bus when it crashed in the Manavgat district of Antalya, one of the country’s most popular tourist spots.

Danielle Carlton-Simons, 40, was on holiday with husband Vinny, 43, sons Reggie, 6 and Kai, 16, daughter Saisha, 20 and her boyfriend Kacper Zielinski, 24, and Danielle’s mum Laura, 59 and brother Bobby, 19 when the accident happened.

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Family friends Julie De Burca, Tina Taylor and Tom Burke were also on board the open-top tour bus when it collided with another tourist bus, causing it to swerve off the road before overturning - with those on board thrown from the vehicle.

The scene of the bus crash in the Manavgat region of Turkey on Thursday. Picture credit: IHAThe scene of the bus crash in the Manavgat region of Turkey on Thursday. Picture credit: IHA
The scene of the bus crash in the Manavgat region of Turkey on Thursday. Picture credit: IHA | IHA

The bus trip was the first day the group had all been out together. They had been on their way to the zoo when the crash happened.

Danielle said the scene was "like a warzone" as her family and friends lay injured amid the wreckage in the Manavgat region of Turkey earlier this month.

Family and friends are now rallying around the family and have launched a Gofundme appeal.

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A family member said any monies raised will be spent ‘to reimburse anyone that has lost their money while over there’.

Fund organiser Emily Jayne Leahy said: “As we all know the horrible disaster that has happened to a well know family from Blackpool that have been involved in a serious Jeep safari bus crash in Turkey which involved 11 of them and resulting in all 11 being admited to all different hospitals. Three of them still being in hospital and one being in a life threatening condition still.

“We are setting this up as it must be hard to be out there not knowing whats going on or what’s going to happen when they all eventually get home and the after effects this will cause them all mentally physically and financially.

“Any help would be much appreciated thanks.”

Danielle said the scene was "like a warzone" as her family and friends lay injured amid the wreckage in the Manavgat region of Turkey on Thursday.

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Husband Vinny was trapped under the bus and had to have surgery to insert 10 pins into his legs. He remains in intensive careis now out of hospital, while two friends - Tina and Julie - continue to receive treatment at two other hospitals.

The bus trip was the first day the group of 11 family and friends had all been out together. They were on their way to the zoo when the crash happenedThe bus trip was the first day the group of 11 family and friends had all been out together. They were on their way to the zoo when the crash happened
The bus trip was the first day the group of 11 family and friends had all been out together. They were on their way to the zoo when the crash happened | IHA

Teenagers Kai, 16, and Bobby, 19, quickly got to work pulling family and friends away from the smoking wreck, said Danielle, as oil and fuel began spilling from the engine.

Danielle, a trainee trauma counsellor, said she believed the only reason son Reggie is alive was because he had asked to swap seats with Vinny moments before the tour began.

She told the BBC her six-year-old son, Reggie, was hanging out of the window when the bus rolled over, but she managed to pull him back in at the last second.

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‘Like a warzone’

As the wrecked bus lay on its side, Danielle’s 19-year-old brother Bobby told her to hand over the boy, warning her she was "covered in oil" and smoke was starting to pour from the engine.

“He would have been under the vehicle if he hadn’t been sitting next to me,” said Danielle. "I just can't believe it's happened to us."

She told the BBC the bus had not been fitted with seatbelts and that she had been told by the driver that the brakes had reportedly failed.

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“Pray for us”

After being flooded with frantic messages and phone calls from family and friends back home in Blackpool, Danielle took to Facebook to share an update.

She said: “We truly appreciate every message and call from the bottom of our hearts, and just for everyone who’s asking, Vinny is out of theatre and recovering in the care of his mum Ruth who flew straight out to help.

“We've finally located Tina who’s still in another hospital, Julie again is in another hospital. She’s still not in a good way at all but her family have arrived to support her. Unfortunately, we've not been able to talk to or see her.

“Saisha and Kacper have had their heads stapled/stitched, and the rest of us have been slightly luckier and come away battered and bruised from head to toe.”

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Danielle added: “We all were trapped or thrown from the Jeep in one way or another in the middle of a mountain in the middle of nowhere.

“Kai and Bobby somehow managed to pull many of us out, including me, Reggie and Vinny when the Jeep was smoking and oil was pouring through.

“We are so lucky and I'm so thankful we’re all alive. We just need the final three back with us so we can all look after each other.

“Family and friends are what we live for and to lose any single one of them is the scariest thought in the whole wide world. I've never felt this fear and worry in my whole life.

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“I just want everyone to be back home safe and as well as can be. Please everyone hold your family and close ones even closer and make the most of every second because you never know what’s around the corner.

“How the hell we’re all still alive, I really don't know. Someone was watching over us. Just keep praying for the ones still in hospital.”

A spokesman for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCSDO) said it was in touch with the family.

The spokesman added: “We are providing consular support to a number of British nationals following an incident in Turkey, and are in contact with the local authorities.”

To make a donation visit here.

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Correction: An earlier version of this story wrongly stated the monies raised in the Gofundme appeal would be spent on helping with medical fees. The Gazette would like to clarify that is not the case. we apologise for any inconvience.

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